Cole Ranch

Art Cole was just 12 years old when this photo was taken in 1918. Years later, someone dared suggest he had just jumped onto the hay to pose for the camera. No, he protested, I hauled that entire wagon on my own. And loaded it too! Cole was one of three brothers, but the only one to remain farming in Olivenhain. When modernization looked inevitable, he bought a 1930s Farmall F12 tractor from Fritz Wiegand and delivered his beloved horses to the zoo. According to his sons, Cole cried all the way home. Like their father before them, Stan and Lynwood Cole have always been attached to the land.

At the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon… kids today just don’t know what hard work is! The majority of Olivenhain families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were homesteaders who depended on farming for their income, and even the smallest children were expected to pull their weight. Up and awake by sunrise, kids had to complete all their chores before starting on the long, often barefoot, trek to school.Over at the 1883 Schoolhouse in Encinitas, young Alice Lux probably spoke for a whole generation when she confided in her teacher that she loved coming to school because she could finally get some rest!I feel a great affinity to Art Cole, the 12-year old who loaded wagons and hauled hay, because his former fields lie just minutes away from my home. Each day on my morning walk (sometimes in the company of Art’s sixty-something son Lynwood) I marvel at the wonderful collection of ancient farm machinery still scattered about the old Cole ranch.

Art’s other son, Stan, looks at these long forgotten implements, sighs, and says he really should get rid of them all, but I hope he never does: in this age of high-speed, hands-free everything, it’s indescribably romantic to gaze on such huge redundant beasts and recall a time when horsepower was king and kids instinctively knew how integral they were to their family’s wellbeing.


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